Laughter and lightness – an interview with Christy Dena

This interview with Christy Dena was done for the publication One Year In Now Media Vol IV. Here it is, complete with embedded presentations of the projects mentioned.
AUTHENTIC IN ALL CAPS won a number of awards in 2014, so this was probably a pretty neat year for you? What were the highlights?


Yes, there were some wonderful surprises this year. Some project highlights include AUTHENTIC winning the Interactive Media category at the 2014 Australian Writers’ Guild Awards; winning the Digital Narrative category at the 2014 WA Premier’s Book Awards; and was Official Selection at the 2014 Media Arts Show for the Electronic Literature Organization. We also attracted a grant from Screen Australia and so will be releasing a Chrome plugin version of AUTHENTIC as well as releasing the code so anyone can create a web audio adventure. I am very excited about this.

I was also commissioned to create a game for Experimenta’s International Biennial of Media Art. The game, Magister Ludi, was also selected to be previewed in the Official Selection for the Freeplay Independent Gaming Festival event Parallels.

At the beginning of the year I also launched the installation I was commissioned to create last year for a Digital Writing Residency. Robot University involves multiple touch screens, projection screens, Kinects, and was created in Unity.

Just recently I was also commissioned to create a party game for my work Christmas party. It is a fun ambient social game that I have now released for anyone to use and adapt as they wish (you can change the theme of course too).

Did any other projects catch your eye? Which, and why?

I loved Monument Valley. It has such elegant art and puzzles, as well as a subtle but satisfying little story thread told with no words.


I found 80 Days to be a feast of interesting choices.


I loved the use of animation, singing, and general celebratory personal style in Dominique Pamplemousse.


I enjoyed Oscar Raby’s VR documentary Assent for the personal world he takes us into.


You and Lance held the first Forward/Story retreat in the spring – what was the reason, and what was it like?

Yes! The first Forward Slash Story retreat was held in May. The idea was born years ago, and stayed with us. We were drawn to the idea of an event where you’re not busy with presentations and mentoring activities (which are great if you get to do these things). Instead, we wanted to have an alternative experience where you get to spend time with people who would be fellow presenters. A special place where you can talk about your art, talk about things that you need, talk about what we thin the world needs, and come up with actions. It was so wonderful to finally be there with everyone (and such a great bunch of participants). We loved the event and personally both Lance and I have had some personal epiphanies that have informed our work. So it was great to get something out of it too. We are thrilled that we were able to secure sponsorship to run it again, this time in Costa Rica.


What are your hopes and fears for this year?

This year I took on a position as Senior Lecturer in Games. I have managed to keep up my pace of creative output (and articles and interviews and travel) despite these duties. I do worry that I may slow down, but we’ll see. I am excited about launching the code to my audio tours on the web format, and hope that some people jump into experimenting (and developing) the form.

I have a new major work brewing that I am very excited about. It will mark a new direction for me, combining a lot of my loves and signaling a shift away from projects designed with a message in mind. I have my pervasive card game to finish and release, and a new micro game I am working on too. I wish for my colleagues to experience lots of laughter and lightness from releasing their own projects. I would love to see lots of hand shakes, pats on the back, and hugs across the globe as many do great things.




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